2023 – another beautiful ikebana year (part 1)
2023 has been a busy year with many ikebana workshops in Morocco, Norway and Montenegro. I was privileged to be able to share my passion for ikebana with people of all ages. Conversing with nature through ikebana arrangements enriches our lives, no matter age, gender or nationality. Ikebana indeed offers friendship through flowers (the motto of Ikebana international).
Ikebana to university students
The Japanese embassy in Rabat, Morocco approached me with an interesting concept – Ikebana workshops for university students. So, I made a two-hours long introduction to ikebana which consisted of: 1. exhibition of 5 ikebanas made by me 2. presentation about history, principles and philosophy of ikebana and 3. workshop where students were able to make their first ikebana, basic upright arrangement. The concept required a lot of preparation in advance which was done by three embassy staff and me, pluss the contact persons at the universities. But it was worth it! We had three workshops: 1. L’Ecole Nationale d’Architecture in Rabat, 2. L’Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Rabat and 3. Art’Com Sup in Casablanca.
Preparation is vital for a successful for any project including our ikebana workshop. I was so lucky to have dedicated, interested and efficient helpers. Preparation includes: 1. choosing and buying flowers and branches, 2. preparing the venue, 3. preparing information posters, signing up forms and evaluation survey, 4. taking enough suibans, kenzans and hasamis. 5. preparing materials and ideas for the exhibition, 6. preparing the presentation, 7. checking that all the technical things are working and 8. being flexible when it comes to time, number of students and other unpredictable events.
Before the students come I made five arrangements in order to illustrate the variety found in ikebana styles. Some examples are given below.
The presentation gives an overview over the history, philosophy and the main principles of ikebana with the focus on Sogetsu ikebana (the school that I belong to). The presentation usually lasts from 30-45 minutes and I always allow ample time for questions. And there are always many interesting questions that make me think and develop my presentation further.
After an exhibition and a presentation it is time for a workshop – hands on for the students. They can use hasami, kenzan and make their first ikebana. I really enjoy watching the students work with plant materials. They are so tender, thoughtful and curious about this new skill. I always thank them – because they always teach me something new.